WE'RE GANGING UP ON MS-13
And What You Can Do To Help
of an MS-13 tattoo.
the fingers of their rivals with machetes...brutally murdered suspected
informants, including a 17-year-old pregnant federal witness...attacked
and threatened law enforcement officers...committed a string of rapes,
assaults, break-ins, auto thefts, extortions, and frauds across the
U.S....gotten involved in everything from drug and firearms trafficking
to prostitution and money laundering...and are sowing violence and
discord not just here in the U.S. but around the world.
of mobsters? Actually, this disturbing résumé of
crime and violence belongs to MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, a fast-growing,
violent, and increasingly mobile street gang that’s terrorizing
communities in 33 states and the District of Columbia.
MS-13, which started
in Los Angeles in the late 1980s, has an estimated 8,000-10,000 members
nationwide, mostly Salvadoran nationals or first generation Salvadoran
Americans but also including Hondurans, Guatemalans, Mexicans, and other
Central and South American immigrants. Members often wear clothing or
sport tattoos incorporating MS-13 or the number 13.
What are we
doing to stop MS-13? Quite a bit:
... In December 2004,
we launched a multi-agency MS-13 National Gang Task Force—the first
of its kind—focused specifically on dismantling MS-13 by increasing
and speeding the flow of information and intelligence, coordinating investigations,
and helping local and state law enforcement more easily identify the
gang in their areas.
.... We're specifically
reaching out to our international partners in El Salvador, Honduras,
Guatemala, and Mexico to share intelligence and begin a coordinated campaign
to dismantle MS-13. We've begun sharing information on nearly a daily
basis, and we have an agent on the ground in San Salvador helping local
authorities investigate gangs.
.... In a related
effort, we've established a National Gang Intelligence Center to better
coordinate and share intelligence on MS-13 and other major gangs.
What can you
do to help?
Get educated on gangs. A good place
to start is the 2005
National Gang Threat Assessment,
which outlines major gangs by region
and how communities can help stop them.
- Be proactive
when it comes to your children. Take a few minutes to look at A
Parent's Quick Reference Card: Recognizing and Preventing Gang Involvement (pdf) for
helpful tips and suggestions.
- If you
know of any gang "hang outs"—which typically include shopping
malls, night clubs, vacant buildings, and specific street corners—or
have any other information on MS-13 that might be useful to
law enforcement, contact your local FBI office,
your local police, or our National Gang Task Force at (202) 324-5341.
For more details on
MS-13, its potential connections to terrorists, and our overall anti-gang
strategy, see Assistant
Director Chris Swecker's testimony of 4/20/05.